Parfrey's Glen Trail

MODERATE 80 reviews
#2 of 12 trails in

Parfrey's Glen Trail is a 1.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Merrimac, Wisconsin that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, birding, and snowshoeing and is accessible year-round.

1.7 miles
232 feet
Out & Back

kid friendly









wild flowers



old growth

over grown



washed out

no dogs

Parfreys Glen is Wisconsins first State Natural area and is unquestionably the most visited state natural area outside of Devils Lake State Park. The glen is open to the public from 6am to 8pm. At its uppermost part, the glen reaches a depth of nearly 100 feet and embraces a mountain-type stream In the last 20 years, the glen has been changed drastically by powerful floods. The glen has gone through various closures, repairs and upgrades in recent years. The bridges and trail known to hikers in the 80s and early 90s are now gone. The trail was again damaged by flooding in 2010 and closed until the fall of 2011. The 2011 repairs only went as far as the gorge itself. The expectation of further floods has caused the DNR to curb spending on repairs within the gorge proper. Hikers wishing to continue up to the waterfall must navigate a stream and rough stone. The steps leading up to the old viewing area and the viewing area are also damaged. Steps are missing and a section of the viewing area is now partly collapsed. Use caution if you plan to go beyond the marked trail.

1 month ago

My absolute favorite. So beautiful, so serene.

9 months ago

Really nice--really long easy trail head for hikers with limitations. Once beyond this point, be prepared to rock hop through the actual glen.

10 months ago

We went hiking with walking toddlers from age of 4 with Hike it baby group from Madison, they were able to Hike all the way to the waterfalls, this is a busy trail after 10am

10 months ago

Beautiful trail!

11 months ago

I really adore this trail, it is beyond what I expect,we went with the hike it baby group and enjoyed the wild flowers, butterfly and the waterfalls was gorgeous, the trail is moderate for new beginners,wear sandals or water proof hiking boots , bring hiking poles as you will need them to climb the boulders, parking gets fully pretty quick try to be there before 10am during the week, I was disappointed to see the bathing in that bed condition. But everything looked amazing in that trail

11 months ago

Nice trail - not a loop. Lots of trees, well marked.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Amazing! One of the best hikes I have done. We went after a rain storm and had to do a bit of jumping on rocks to get to the end. If you look up at the end you will see a way to go from the creek to the ridge above it. You can then walk on a trail above the waterfall on your way back for a different angle.

Underrated, definitely worth checking out.

Monday, April 10, 2017


Sunday, April 02, 2017

One of the best trails I've been on!

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Do this a few times every year!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

With today's cold snap the glen is full of ice falls! The creek and waterfall itself is still unfrozen and flowing (waterproof boots!), but numerous icicles and ice sheets grew from the rock walls. Really neat.

Monday, January 16, 2017

It was fun but it was basically all up hill and then after walking 2 miles. We had to turn around at the end and walk back down hill. But I did see a cardinal and four white tailed deer so that was pretty cool.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Ample parking and a restroom at the trail head. The trail follows the creek for the whole length. The trail goes from paved surface to easy dirt road to moderate rock scrambling and creek fording after the "end maintained trail" sign. Waterproof boots and poles will help. Very interesting narrow deep gorge. Huge rock blocks fell from cliffs. The cliff exposes layers of pink quartzite pebbles in between sandstone. The trail ends at a low waterfall. Great golden fall colors.

Friday, August 26, 2016

It's a pretty hike, but I would say far from hard.

Friday, July 08, 2016

Neat little area. You wouldn't expect this sort of terrain from the parking lot. The lot is small, but there seemed to always be room for at least a couple of cars. If you go bushwhacking, be sure to wear pants, the stinging nettle can be vicious.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Great hike that doesn't take too much time to accomplish, along with beautiful Merrimac scenery

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Nice hike for anyone passing through the area with an hour to spare. Prepare to "off road" it a bit to get to the satisfying falls.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Easily one of my favorite trails. this particular area is known for having unique/seldom seen plant life. It's a gorgeous shaded trail. I'm not too sure why it's rated as hard. there is a very moderate incline on your way in and at the end trail sign you need to use the rocks in the stream if you want to continue but still not too technical. And that's coming from a newbie hiker!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

How could you not give this 5 stars? Although it isn't long, it's a beautiful short hike to see some beautiful rock faces and a mini waterfall.

Friday, January 08, 2016

Easily one of my favorite trails in the area. A must-see if you are near Devils Lake. Don't be afraid to keep going over the rocks until you reach the small waterfall!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Such a beautiful trail. It gets pretty busy during the day, but if you hike in the early morning you should have the Glen to yourself. Relatively easy to hike but there are some small streams that you must hop from rock to rock in order to cross. One person in your group is bound to step in the water-It gets slippery! The Glen is a must-see if you are in the area.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Great trail to observe geology. You need to make your own trail as you near the end of the canyon. Wear shoes with good traction - the rocks get slippery the busier it gets. Wonderfully cool in the canyon on a hot day!

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Beautiful trail, especially during late winter when the falls and stream are frozen. A short hike, but definitely worth it.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Beautiful hike, cool water. Worth the trip

Sunday, July 05, 2015


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Great walk but to short. Go all the way to the small waterfall surrounded by high Rock cliffs. Very beautiful area. You can climb on past the falls but for most that's the end of the trail. This is worth going out of your way for a great 1-2 hour hike.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

We took our 7 year old grandson on this trail and he loved it. great .7 mile gentle up slope to the gorge. Then it gets a lot harder. You have to step on small rocks to cross the stream in several spots. Overall it is so worth it to see the natural beauty of this gorge! We will be going back in the fall.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Easy trail, short hike in to official end of trail but there's a trail next to the waterfall that continues. It's a nice little hike in with a gently flowing stream on the left. I never had the opportunity to see it with the deck in place, but it's still very nice and well worth the short trip from Devil's Lake S.P.

Friday, April 25, 2014

incredible sights and people. loved it!! (P.S. Bring extra clothes!!)

Load More